May 14, 2009
By Charles Renning, Arizona Athletic Media Relations
As the new-look Wildcats, under the leadership of head coach Sean Miller, step on the floor for the 2009-10 basketball season, Lute and Bobbi Olson Court in McKale Center will have a fresh look to it.
The court will be ready for action in the near future, as Miller and his charges prepare for the upcoming season. According to Arizona director of athletics Jim Livengood, the new look provides a transition, while still paying tribute to UA's rich history.
"The McKale Center playing surface is one of the University's most visible platforms, and we wanted a few key elements - the Block A and Arizona wordmark and the Lute and Bobbi Olson nameplate - prominently displayed," said Livengood. "We feel that the playing surface reflects the new energy that Sean Miller and his staff have brought to our basketball program, while linking to key elements of our past."
The floor in McKale Center was refurbished over the last month and the signature Arizona Block A now adorns midcourt with a new logo representing the tag of Lute and Bobbi Olson Court.
"We wanted a fresh look with our predominate logo at midcourt," said Arizona director of operations Matt Brown. "The Block A logo is at midfield for football and soccer, so we knew it should be at midcourt for basketball."
As the home for all Arizona sports programs, the signature Block A and Arizona wordmark at center court of McKale Center matches what all UA teams use on uniforms, warm-ups, apparel and other gear.
The new Lute and Bobbi Olson court logo was moved from center court to right in front of the Arizona bench for a number of reasons.
"We wanted it to be closer to our bench where Coach Olson roamed for so many years," Brown said. "Before you only saw it on television during the opening tip from an aerial shot or when the ball was walked across half court. Now it will be centered on the Wildcats side of the floor for the second half and there will be no doubt where you are."
Just under the Block A at midcourt is the Arizona wordmark, which is sure to make television viewers immediately aware of where the game is being played, Brown said. The court will also be a bit lighter with the same blue borders around the court, blue floor lines, including the women's three-point lines, and white lines for the men's three-point lines.
On the baseline at both ends of the floor, ArizonaWildcats.com and Bear Down were painted in red and white as both a nod to the Arizona Athletics moniker and to help extend the athletics brand through its website.
ArizonaWildcats.com will take you to the same ArizonaAthletics.com site, but that, too, will be transformed, as ArizonaWildcats.com will soon take over as the new URL for UA's official homepage.
Also new to the floor will be a pair of blue Pac-10 logos inside the keys, just beneath the free-throw lines. The keys will be the same wood color as the rest of the floor.
"The Pac-10 is a BCS power conference of which we are a proud member and we wanted that displayed on the playing surface," Brown said.
To go with all the university logos, two Verizon Wireless logos were placed near midcourt, measuring the same size as the former Alltel logo, each on opposite corners of the half court as per contract.
The majority of the floor was not replaced, just refinished and repainted. The only wood that was replaced was a section under the north stands which has been home to the Arizona student section, ZonaZoo, for the last several years.
"With the ZonaZoo near capacity almost every night and the constant movement and jumping up and down it beat up the floor," said Brown. "Pieces were coming up and it needed to be reinforced."
The current playing surface, made of maple, was installed in 1996 and has undergone routine maintenance since then, including two full-sanding procedures to take the finish all the way down to the wood. Lute and Bobbi Olson Court floor is a state-of-the-art sub floor system designed to deflect shock for athletes and could last another seven to 10 years with annual maintenance, Brown said.